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St. Paul Police Chief, Mayor Defend Officer In Ronald Davis Shooting After Body Camera Footage Released

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell stands behind an officer's use of deadly force in the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Ronald Davis.

"An officer who had no choice but to defend himself against an immediate and violent threat," Axtell said.

Police on Tuesday released dramatic body camera video of Davis' fatal shooting. It happened just over a week ago after Davis rear-ended the officer's squad and then charged at him with a knife. Police hoped the video would help the community move forward but activists continue to demand answers.

A memorial with pictures of Davis is a quiet reminder of what happened at North Griggs Street and Thomas Avenue. But it's the vocal protests and accusations against St. Paul police that led Chief Axtell to release body camera video of the fatal shooting.

VIDEO: Body Cam Video Of Ronald Davis Shooting (WARNING: Graphic Content)

"I cannot stand by. I simply can't sleep at night knowing that a good officer and all of our officers are being assailed by people who simply don't have the facts," Axtell said.

The video begins with Davis rear-ending Officer Steve Mattson. As the officer gets out of the vehicle, you can see Davis charge at the officer with a knife.

"Get away from me! Drop the knife!" Mattson said.

Mayor Melvin Carter hoped its quick release would minimize rumors and speculation surrounding what happened.

"I see officer Mattson defending himself while retreating, and as a son of a police officer … I can't say I can see anything beyond that we could have expected him to do," Carter said.

READ MORE: Friends, Family Of Ronald Davis, Killed By St. Paul Police, Puzzled By His Violent End

But activists demand an independent investigation and say seeing the video doesn't change their stance.

"The video footage that was released actually leaves us with more questions than answers regarding the circumstances that led up to Ronald K. Davis being shot by police. We don't see the full scope of what happened," activist Nekima Levy Armstrong said.

And they say they're outraged Chief Axtell would suggest they're fueling distrust with police.

"As activists we have a right to stand for justice, we have a right to demand accountability," Levy Armstrong said.

The investigation is still ongoing. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is in charge of the ongoing investigation. This is only the second time the BCA and police have released video of a police shooting before the case is complete.

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